Steve, fill me with your little babies:
I get people waiting every day for the Dems to sell out one more time, to make that stupid, weak-kneed deal which gives the GOP one more victory. They no longer believe the Dems are anything but pasties for Bush and the GOP. They do not believe we, as Democrats, can fight and win. That’s the result of your “triangulation”. People waiting for the next defeat.
The point of being attack dog Dems isn’t just that we stop bullshitting around about Republican issues and start talking about our own. The point of defining ourselves as a party is that in doing so, we define our opposition. That’s what they do, stake out a piece of ground and claim it so that nobody else can. Republicans are strong on national security, as a party, they say, so that if you see a Republican on your ticket and you don’t know the guy from Doug Giles, you think you know what he stands for because you know what his party’s about. Republicans are for smaller government, they say, which makes us automatically something else. They’re very good at defining us by exclusion, and every time we try to prove we’re just as good as them on what they’re talking about today, we buy into it.
They’re the party of God. Yeah, not so much. But instead of responding by saying “we’re the party of God, too, if you like that sort of thing, and really we have a separation of church and state in this country and here’s why and here’s a paper on Thomas Jefferson and etc. and why have your eyes glazed over? Shane, come back! Listen to my policy speeches!” we should refuse to engage them on the topic at all. We should pretend it’s too silly to even address. And when someone asks what we stand for, we say, “We are the party of equality.”
We are the party of people who fought for a woman’s right not just to choose, but to vote, to own property, to be tried by a jury of her peers, to stay home with her kids if she likes and work if she doesn’t.
We are the party of people who fight for workers to have the same rights as their fat-cat company employers. We are the party that mandates fire escapes so that workers don’t die because their bosses are cheap. We are the party that ensures your 9-year-old is in a school learning multiplication tables instead of on the assembly line beside you.
We are the party of people who believe we can overcome the things that divide us: poverty, racial segregation, a vicious class system that divides us into rich and destitute with no room for a middle ground. We are the party that can face down terrorism because we faced down fascism. We liberated the death camps. We opened the doors to freedom and democracy long before it became a fashionable brooch on today’s convenient cloak.
We are the party of people who believe that there is no task to which Americans cannot put their hands and complete successfully. We are the party that beat back the Depression and led our nation during World War II. We are the party that said, let us send a man to the moon.
We are that party. And by that very definition, you know exactly what our opposition is.